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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Malaysia lawyer: "Stay death sentences for now, they may soon be abolished"

Screenshot from "Apprentice" by Boo Junfeng, 2016
Applications to stay the sentence of inmates currently on death row should be allowed, says DAP's Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh.

In a statement issued on Thursday (May 24), the lawyer said the sentences of inmates on death row should be reviewed in light of the possible abolition of the death penalty.

He said he would file an application to the Federal Court on behalf of one of his clients currently on death row for an offence under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

"It is hoped that the said proposed application will be allowed and applied to all other inmates currently on death row as the death sentence is irreversible," said Ramkarpal.

He also urged that the sole discretion of imposing the death penalty or commuting it to a lighter sentence be given to the courts.

He explained that at present, the court requires a certificate from the public prosecutor, who acts on behalf of the Attorney-General, before it can consider commuting the sentence.

Ramkarpal also lauded the possible abolition of the Sedition Act, saying that it was a "political tool to stifle dissent".

He urged the courts to adjourn cases charged under the Act pending its review in Parliament.

On Wednesday (May 23), Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said it was time to review existing laws that were outdated such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act, Prevention of Crime Act, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, and the mandatory death penalty for certain crimes.

"We will study such laws first before deciding whether to repeal or amend them," he said, adding that civil society would be engaged in this process.

Source: thestar.com.my, May 24, 2018


Drug mule Maria Exposto sure she'll beat death sentence


The Sydney grandmother sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug smuggling has told her lawyer not to worry as they will win their appeal case because "it's obvious I'm innocent".

An appeal court in Malaysia on Thursday sentenced Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto to death by hanging after overturning her earlier acquittal on drug smuggling charges.

The 3 judges sitting in Kuala Lumpur unanimously found the 54-year-old guilty but said she had a right of further appeal on the methamphetamine charges and wished her luck.

On Friday Exposto's legal team lodged an application to appeal the ruling in the Federal Court.

"I can confirm a notice of appeal has been filed with the court," a lawyer with Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represents Exposto, told AAP.

Maria Exposto
Her lawyer told Network Ten on Friday that his client had "told me something very encouraging". "She said, 'Not to worry, we got another appeal, and with your team ...we will win the case ... because I'm innocent. It's obvious I'm innocent'."

In a statement on Thursday Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said "Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances for all people" and Exposto would continue to receive full Australian consular assistance.

On December 27 last year Exposto was acquitted of drug trafficking but faced a prosecution appeal against the acquittal on charges of trafficking 1.5kg of methamphetamine into Malaysia.

She had claimed she was the victim of a set-up after she was found with the drugs in her bag after arriving on a flight from China in 2014.

She was acquitted after the judge found she was scammed by her online boyfriend and was unaware she was carrying the drugs stitched into her bag.

The prosecution in the appeal argued Exposto had been wilfully blind, that her defence was made up and she had engaged in a "sly game", News Corp reported.

Source: Australian Associated Press, May 24, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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